We get emails every week about how long before we will have a location in this city or that state. The simple answer is always, we don’t know. While sometimes the way that business expands can be fairly easy to observe, like fast food chains cropping up on every major road, others are a bit harder to quantify. We have actually grown in a more organic way than most businesses in today’s economic climate. Most people are familiar with the concept of a franchise, a semi-autonomous business under the banner of a wider corporation, while these types of businesses have many forms, they are by far the most common way that we see modern companies expand. We are different however in that we expand by licensing and teaching the process to businesses and selling them products in an authorized applicator program. This allows us to reduce the amount of work needed to oversee each individual shop in our network while still maximizing our ability to control the quality of work produced by those shops.
How Does One Become an Authorized Applicator?
Each one of our applicators comes from a different background, some are veterans of the RV industry looking to provide their existing customer base with the best services available and others are brand new to the industry looking to join a growing network of reputable applicators. A good number of our applicators are former customers, who both loved the product and the service that we and our applicators provided that they wanted to join us in our endeavor. Some are service centers that saw some of our roofs come through their facility and reached out to learn more about the process that goes into them. Each one of the shops in our network mirror our commitment to quality service and upholding the Flex Armor brand as the best roofing solution in the industry.
Why We Don’t Have One in Every State?
Because we have chosen to grow more organically, we are expanding slowly. While this may be frustrating for someone in an area of the country we haven’t reached yet, this has allowed us to make sure that each shop gets the appropriate training and support they need to thrive. We have never gone out to ask a shop to join our current network of 25, and growing, shops are all from them reaching out to us. Since we only work with shops that have reached out to us, we can guarantee to a degree that they care enough about the product to ensure quality work from them. This is also why we can’t predict when we will open one in a particular area, we could get a call or email next week from a shop 10 miles from you or never hear from anyone in that area for years. In addition, the initial startup cost, while not the highest in relation to other business opportunities, is still slightly prohibitive to smaller shop sometimes. This is just a byproduct of spraying such a high-quality product, the equipment needed to apply it is also high quality.
What Are the Requirements to Become an Applicator?
Beyond the initial investment, the only major requirement is a building large enough to do the work in. We provide most of the knowledge needed to do the install process during the two weeks of required training, one week at the corporate headquarters and one week at your shop. We provide continuous support to the shop as unusual cases arise. We are more than happy to welcome new business owners into our network, so we have never required previous RV experience. Our process is so far removed from the standard industry practice that we sometimes find it easier to train and teach people who are generally handy, but new to the industry, than the veterans who have years of experience. Nevertheless, we welcome all types of shops into our network. Each one of our shops is a valued member of our company and we do our best to support each and every one of them as much as we can.
I hope that this short summarization of how our businesses grow will illuminate some of the common questions we get. We are always striving to maintain clear communication about how we operate and why we do the things we do.